A while back I joined up to a local CrossFit in Dubin, Ireland. On first impressions, I was fascinated by how different this felt vs a traditional gym. In fact, for a long time, I didn’t really consider it a gym at all. It was way more than that. A tribe, a box, a lifestyle.
A couple of stand out observations from my time in CrossFit…
- They build community really really well. Whether this was the photos of members on social media or just fostering that team spirit of helping each other achieve I’m not sure but it works.
- The paleo food diet that underpins and supports the intensive training was a great coupling. Although these days, I have more than a few reservations about Paleo, it was still a masterstroke.
- The WOD – Workout of the Day. Explosive 10-minute blasts of energy expenditure.
- Naming the WODs – e.g. Fran, Murph, Helen. By naming the workouts, it made it personal and allowed the global CrossFit community to compare – who is the fastest in the world at Murph? Genius.
- The coaches themselves seem so dedicated to it, it rubs off on you!
- Fostering a healthy competition between members – leaderboards in full view of the workout area.
CrossFit is a huge step forward in terms of what a gym should be. It was enjoyable, it was testing and above all else, it made exercise fun, exciting and competitive (the WODs). The downside to CrossFit these days is that it is scaling so fast, they are losing their focus on the individual and hyper attention to good technique. I quit Crossfit due to a back injury I sustained doing deadlifts that were just too much for me at the time, coupled with a bad technique that arguably could have been identified if there were not so many people in the class. I have seen the numbers in CrossFit classes swell from 4 or 5 to up to 18 in a single class with a single coach. There is no way he/she can ensure good technique across everyone in a class that size. Either way, I should have known better myself but the coaches have a huge duty of care to people to ensure they apply the right technique in some of these technical moves.
Overall though I loved it. It was crazy and enjoyable. Try it. You might find your tribe.
Yours in health and happiness,